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Dear Thor: The Dark World,

In the second installment of the Comic version of the Norse God, the tale starts off covering the history of the defeat of the Dark Elves. It covers the omnipotent substance they use as a weapon called the Aether. Since it cant be destroyed the efforts of hiding it are of course suspect.

After being away from Earth for two years, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) works at bringing the nine realms under heel. At the same time Jane (Natalie Portman), finds another wormhole anomaly and promptly gets sucked into the alternative space and encounters the Aether, where it inhabits her. As Thor comes to Earth to check on her and finds out she has become infected and the Dark Elves wake to hunt down the newly released Aether, the tension revs up. Obviously Loki (Tom Hiddleston) ends up being in the thick of everything.

As Malekith the Dark Elven Lord sends his minion forth to seize Jane, we see the lengths they are willing to go to when someone close to Thor loses their life protecting her. Swirling around the individual stories is the convoluted but tractable plot of Malekith wanting to use the Aether to turn the universe into a malevolent dark reality opposite of what it currently is. When the nine realms align the opportunity will arise to corrupt and destroy all that currently exists. This is all well and good and not too tedious to follow, however, its clear early on that it is the human and god stories, that drive the heart of this film.

It’s the little things that build big empathy with the film, such as the small ways in which Jane misses Thor and visa versa. The way Darcy constantly reminds her of her thing for Thor because she envies it. Or, how about the jarring way Jane vents her pure ire at his long absence (which made me cringe)? All these beautifully spaced human beats give life and breath to the proceedings and even serve as perfect segues to laugh out loud humorous moments that catch me by surprise almost every time. Real genuine belly laughs that occasionally clear the palate of all the doom and gloom this story is forced to carry. This facet of the film wholly redeems it from the very possible mediocre status it could have otherwise suffered such as the superhero yawns The Avengers, or Man of Steel.

This nuance is the very same reason I fell in love with the last Star Trek film. Though the ending seemed a bit like a shark-jump, I chalked it up to ignorance of the comic history and can’t really fault it for sticking to a knitting that I may not be aware of. Even give that, TV director Alan Taylor has crafted a very entertaining genre film that is quite easily as good as the first and I happen to honestly like both.

We will meet again Thor and I will keep an eye on your exploits,

Rick

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